Mt. Olive Online Publication February 5, 2020

Mt. Olive Online
Mt. Olive Online

Students' Delivery Warms Hearts And Homeless Veterans

By Cheryl Conway

After three weeks of hard work, dedication and commitment, 26 seventh graders at Mt. Olive Middle School collected as much as they could to help homeless veterans.

Ten of those students of the Gifted & Talented program at MOMS, visited the All Veterans Memorial in Budd Lake on Veteran’s Day, Monday, Nov. 11, to deliver their goods. MOMS G&T Teacher Ann Greszczak, who orchestrated the collection at the middle school, accompanied her students that morning from 9:45 to 11:30.

Greszczak and her G&T students were collecting items for the Helping Homeless Heroes/ Helping Homeless Hounds severe weather backpack campaign sponsored by the All Veterans Alliance and Morris County American Legion. Their efforts began Oct. 22 by writing letters to teachers, creating posters and making collections boxes.

Charlie Wood Uhrmann, founder of the All Veterans Memorial and AVA, coordinated the campaign by reaching out to Greszczak for support from the school community.

The response was well received.

“The collection was slow at first, but the kids were persistent, and it picked up at the end,” says Greszczak.

The G&T students collected “a huge box of toiletries” including toothpaste, tooth brushes, lip balm (30), tissues, deodorant; 20 backpacks; 14 drawstring bags; seven pairs of gloves; four scarves; 15 hats; 10 blankets; 27 pairs of socks; 11 sweatshirts/sweat pants/vests; two boxes of granola bars; two boxes dog treats; more than 50 pounds of assorted candy; and $115 dollars cash.

Understanding the purpose, working hard to collect the necessary items for the campaign and then delivering those items will resonate with students in years to come.

“This project was important to me because I was helping a greater cause,” says seventh grader Riley Cahil. “I was very surprised that there were veterans who were homeless.  This has inspired me to help others in the future.”

Another seventh grader, Tessa Zentko, says “I felt I was helping those in need.  It was a feel good kind of feeling.  I would like to think that if this happens to me, someone will help me, kinda like what goes around comes around.”

Adds Thomaz Honda, “The people who can help should help and those who have more advantages should help those without.”

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Crunch In Exercise And A Smile At Nearby Fitness Facility

By Cheryl Conway

Affordable, accommodating, clean, updated equipment, diverse classes with energetic instructors, personal training and no judgements are what members at Crunch Stanhope can expect.

With more and more gyms popping up in the area, Crunch Stanhope offers everything a fitness facility can offer. Open since May 2013, the 15,000 sq. ft. facility celebrated its sixth-year anniversary this past year.

Gains outweigh the losses at Crunch Stanhope. Not much to lose paying $14.95 per month for a membership. What is there to gain? Burned calories, toner muscles, stronger heart and greater confidence can be just some of the results achieved by those committed to exercise at Crunch Stanhope.

“Crunch Stanhope has state of the art strength equipment, cardio equipment, tons of free weights, and in addition to all that we also offer high-energy group fitness classes, high intensity small group training classes, tanning, HydroMassage, online nutrition, free guest privileges and access to our entire network of clubs,” says General Manager Laura Jallad since April 2018. “The best part is every membership has an hour included with a Personal Trainer so we can identify their goals and set them up with a routine for success to really see RESULTS!”

When asked why people should join Crunch and what does it offer that other fitness centers do not, Jallad replies, “The question should be ‘What don’t we offer?’”

Jallad, a Mt. Olive resident since she was five years old, says “We have added in NEW equipment, NEW Turf, and prided our staff in cleanliness and a customer service-oriented environment!  We have improved our Group Fitness department by bringing in new equipment, instructors and formats.  We have also improved our Personal Training department by adding in experienced certified personal trainers to ensure our members are receiving the best possible service and reaching their goals in a timely manner.  The best part is we are constantly improving and adding new things.”

Passionate Owners/Manager

Crunch Stanhope is owned by Tim and Tara DeLorenzo of Morris County. They “have a passion about health and fitness and changing lives,” they say.

Tim DeLorenzo, the original owner, has had a passion for personal training, fitness and changing lives while being the president of a worldwide manufacturing company.  He opened Crunch Stanhope seven years ago to make a difference in the community.  In 2016, his wife Tara, entered the company and brought her passion for hospitality and customer service and has turned it into what it is today.  Since 2017, they have been working in conjunction with Jallad and now the gym is member focused, maintaining the utmost cleanliness and the members are all thriving to reach their goals.

Before coming to Crunch, Jallad worked as a manager throughout different industries for the past 12 years. 

“My true passion is health and fitness and helping anyone I can improve their life and wellbeing,” says Jallad, who attended County College of Morris in Randolph for a degree in hospitality.

“I was previously in retail, and more recently in event planning which I enjoyed but I felt health and fitness was my true passion and had to pursue it,” says Jallad. “That is when I met Tara and Tim DeLorenzo, and they showed me the true passion they had for Crunch and helping others.  They made me believe that Crunch can fulfill my hopes and dreams, and so far, that is just what it has done.”

Her greatest enjoyment as the manager is “The members!” says Jallad.  “Sometimes they may walk in after a long day of work or a rough morning with the kids but by the time they leave they feel so much better and are smiling.”

Thousands of members have joined as they utilize the state-of-the-art equipment, personal training and multitude of ever-changing classes.

“We have about 4,500 members that come from all over the Sussex and Morris county area,” says Jallad. “In addition, there are local companies with employees that live outside of this area but prefer to workout in our facility than others, so they have also joined.

“The awesome Group Fitness classes, the one-on-one personal training to help anyone achieve their goals and the welcoming atmosphere,” is what sets Crunch apart.

With so many formats of fitness offered, members can appreciate all that Crunch  Stanhope offers.

“That is what’s so great about Crunch Stanhope we specialize in EVERY brand and style of fitness while making it fun for everyone!” says Jallad.

With so many gyms and fitness places opening up in the area, Crunch justifies why its facility is the best place to belong.

“Just like our mission statement states: “There are no judgements here – no too much or not enough, no glares of disapproval,” Jallad shares.  “Here we keep open minds.  We are nurturers.  We seek only to encourage, empower and entertain.  There is no one type.  There is no one reason.  There is no one way.  What we are is a diverse community; what we have is a culture of fun; what there is, is room for everyone: all kinds of people with all kinds of goals who’ve chosen to reach them with us. We offer everything a fitness facility can offer and being a part of a brand that is passionate about their members is what makes our members gravitate to us.”

Classes Galore

“We offer about 100 classes per week,” says Jallad.  “They start as early as 5:45 a.m. and go until 9 p.m.  We have about 15 instructors currently working here.”

Class offerings change with the seasons, so members can always look forward to new styles and formats.

“Our fabulous instructors are constantly learning new formats, changing up playlists, and switching up their routines to keep members on their toes and engaged,” says Jallad.

“All our classes are fun and exciting,” she continues. “The best part is they can only be found at Crunch Fitness facilities.  The most popular classes in our Stanhope location is Belly, Butt, and Thighs; Chisel; TRX; and Yoga Body Sculpt.

Unlike most other facilities, Crunch Stanhope offers Crunch lunch classes during mid-day hours so those working from home or near the facility can hop over for a lunch-time workout.

Specials/Community Outreach

Currently at Crunch, memberships start as low at $14.95 per month, “the lowest around,” says Jallad.

Crunch Stanhope is always offering specials and promotions, as well as a helping hand to the community for certain causes.

In October, for example, enrollment was dropped to $5 on ALL Peak memberships and $5 from every new member that signed up in October was donated to Breast Cancer research.

This month, to recognize Veterans Day, Crunch Stanhope offered $0 enrollment on all Peak memberships for anyone that donated non-perishable goods for the week. All food donations were going to the Interfaith Food Pantry in Morris Plains and local food bank.

Also for Veterans Day, Crunch is supporting Cell Phones For Soldiers, a national non -profit dedicated to providing free communication services to troops and veterans. Crunch Stanhope is collecting old and used cell phone donations throughout November for this effort.

As an ongoing incentive, current members who refer a friend, receive one month free at Crunch Stanhope.

Also in November, a family class is set to be held every Saturday to spread the importance of health and fitness to the younger generation.

“In addition, if they follow our social media accounts, we are constantly participating at community events, as well as hosting our own events in club,” says Jallad.

Keeping Things Fresh And Fair

At Crunch, members can appreciate the rows of equipment and hand-held weights in its main facility.

“All of our equipment is regularly serviced and maintained, and we are constantly adding in new equipment and updating with new models,” says Jallad.

“We are currently GYM-PROVING,” she says. “We’ve already started by adding in the NEW Laying Down Leg Curl, and in the next couple months you will see updates like our parking lot being repaired, a full rebranding, some new class formats and some new equipment.

While members join the facility with intentions to exercise, Crunch is very understanding when it comes to mishaps.

“Crunch is super accommodating so based on the reason a member has the option to freeze their account for up to three months to deal with personal issues,” explains Jallad.  “They may freeze up to six months for a medical reason with a doctor’s note.”

Hours, Fees, Membership Packages

Hours of operation are Monday through Friday from 5 a.m. to 11 p.m.; Saturdays and Sundays from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.

“We have special hours on most holidays but only close for Christmas Day,” says Jallad.

Crunch Stanhope proudly offers three flexible memberships ranging from $14.95-$34.95 per month. It offers different options to fit different needs. All of the memberships are always month to month with no long-term contracts or commitments.

Its motto is, “We want our memberships to stay because they’re happy to be here, not because they’re forced to be.”

For more information, visit


New VP Tackles Position Head On At MOHS


Jumping in full swing ahead, with a goal in mind, Falleni aims high in his career, takes a shot and scores the VP role while sliding into home base---Mt. Olive… all the while.

By Cheryl Conway


Anyone who has attended sports games in Mt. Olive would recognize him as Mr. Falleni, the athletic director. But after 13 years as AD, David Falleni has upped his game and is now Vice Principal Falleni.

Falleni, 52, of Byram Twp., started in his new role as a VP at Mt. Olive High School on Oct. 15, the day after the Mt. Olive Board of Education chose him out of about eight candidates. His promotion fills the spot of James Kramer, former MOHS VP, who was moved over to the Mt. Olive Middle School to serve as principal.

Just a month into his new position, Falleni is settling into his new responsibilities while still juggling his AD role. School leaders have been interviewing for his spot.

“The goal is to approve a candidate by the end of November and have the candidate start ASAP after approval, which may take time- possibly 60-day notice,” says Falleni.

With 19 years behind him of working in the Mt. Olive School District, Falleni was happy to have been chosen as the new VP. 

“I am very excited to start this next chapter of my career and I look forward to still having an impact with the student body and staff, while gaining some quality time with my family,” says Falleni.

Almost two decades is a long time, but to Falleni there is no place like home.

“I consider Mt. Olive my extended family, a home away from home,” says Falleni. “I feel the school and community are very welcoming and supportive of its staff.  In my 19 years, I have made a great number of friends, that have supported me throughout the years to the point that Mt. Olive has become a special place to me.

"It's a great day to be a Marauder," he says.  

Falleni was first hired by Mt. Olive in November of 2000 as a health and physical education teacher at MOMS, grades sixth through eighth. In May 2006, he was hired as the director of athletics “which I have been happily serving at Mt. Olive High School and Mt. Olive Middle School.” 

Attending as many games as he could was one of his primary responsibilities as AD.

“I did not necessarily need to attend all games, some yes, but not all, however, I felt that doing the job correctly meant for me to be at all games when possible,” says Falleni. “I wanted to ensure that our student athletes were represented by me and to show the coaches and athletes that I supported them fully.  In addition, to ensure that the environment was safe and secure for players, spectators and officials at all times.”

While growth in one’s profession is a positive step, 13 years of attending games and watching the athletes has been a joy that Falleni admits he will miss.

“The one thing I will miss most is watching our student athletes grow into mature adults and becoming successful in life despite the wins and losses on the field,” says Falleni.

AD Jumps Into VP Role

Falleni was prompted to express his interest in the VP role at MOHS, “When I first learned that Mr. Kramer was offered the Middle School Principal position,” he says.

Working in the field of education has always been Falleni’s goal.

“Originally, I found my interest in working with athletes and their recovery from injuries and such,” explains Falleni.  “Then I realized that I can connect with students through education and, in addition, be able to work with student athletes in the high school.  After doing that for several years, I wanted to have more of an impact on the students in school especially the student athletes and coaches, which led me to become an athletic director.

“Today, I want to impact students by motivating them to make good choices, as well as make decisions that may decide their careers,” he says.

Falleni aligned his education to map his course to success.

After graduating from Lenape Valley Regional High School in 1985, Falleni attended The University of Mount Union in Alliance, Ohio, where he studied sports medicine and health and physical education. He was also a four-year varsity wrestler for the University of Mount Union.  Upon graduation in 1989, he became a graduate assistant at West Virginia University, where he received a master’s in physical education/sports medicine.

“When I graduated in 1990, I began my career as an athletic trainer for a couple of high schools in Bergen County,” says Falleni.  “In 1994, I landed a position at Jefferson Township High School as a health/PE teacher, athletic trainer and head wrestling coach, which I did for six years,” until he was hired in 2000 to teach in Mt. Olive.

In 2003, he began his second master’s at the College of St. Elizabeth to receive a degree in educational leadership, which he earned in 2005, and a year later was hired as AD in Mt. Olive.

While he enjoyed almost two decades as AD, Falleni says it was time to make a change. 

“One of the main reasons for seeking the VP role was to allow me to still have an impact with students but to also have a life with my family,” says Falleni, who has been “happily married to my wife Susan for 27 years and I have four wonderful, awesome children, my son David 24, daughter Alyssa 22, son Dominick 18 and daughter Angelina 15.

As “the life of an athletic director is one of MANY HOURS!” notes Falleni, he says his new role carries other challenges.

“Learning the "ins and outs" of this new position will be a challenge for me,” says Falleni.  “I am used to doing things from an athletic director’s viewpoint, it is much different as VP.”

While VP’s have different responsibilities, Falleni says he thought he could be a good fit for the job.

“I believe that my personality, demeanor and presence are excellent skills to have when dealing with students, their decisions- (good or bad) and guiding them for their future,” says Falleni.

Many others would agree.

“Mr. Falleni is an exceptional administrator,” says Dr. Robert Zywicki, superintendent of Mt. Olive Schools. “He has shown a tremendous ability to communicate to parents and students. He’s the face of the school district to so many other districts. He’s going to give 100 percent.”

It is nice to know that Falleni’s familiar face will continue to shine in Mt. Olive.

“Mt. Olive School District is a great place to work,” concludes Falleni. “The staff and students present great pride in Mt. Olive.  “There is a great sense of community, top notch education and our facilities are second to none.”

Democratic Candidates Hold Heads High After Election 

By Cheryl Conway

Change is inevitable with the fall leaves that have turned colors, but the local governing body will remain stagnant for now.

With the General Election held Tuesday, Nov. 5, the three Republican incumbents received the most votes to renew their seats on the Mt. Olive Township Council.

Of the six candidates that ran for Mt. Olive Twp. Council, Colleen Labow received the most votes with 2,879, or 20.85 percent. Also voted in for another four-year term are incumbents Joseph Nicastro with 2,859 votes and Alex Roman with 2,797 votes.

Trailing not too far behind were the three Democratic candidates, who ran as first-time contenders. Irene Sergonis received the highest with 1,790 votes; Lloyd Deans with 1,747 votes; and Raj Singh with 1,730 votes.

According to the Morris County Board of Elections, 13,810 votes in Mt. Olive Twp. were casted for the Nov. 5 General Election race for Mt. Olive Township Council.

Although disappointed that they did not get voted in this time around, the Democratic candidates that ran for a seat on the Mt. Olive Twp. Council were happy with the overall experience.

“Our supporters and volunteers were awesome!” says Irene Sergonis, candidate for council.  “We have made so many friends and learned so much along the way.”

She says, “In May 2019, the Morris County Democratic Committee gave us a win number of 1,536 based on an expected 17 percent turnout.  We exceeded that goal and learned some important lessons about ourselves and our community along the way. 

“In 2015, Nicastro, Labow and Roman ran unopposed and coasted to victor,” continues Sergonis. “We gave them a good fight and remained honest and positive throughout the campaign.  We can take pride in the changes our government made in response to our platform and the concerns raised during our campaign.” 

In other local races, Rob Greenbaum was reelected in an uncontested race for mayor receiving 3,505. This will be his third four-year term as mayor.

Greenbaum was first elected to the Mt. Olive Twp. Council in 2001.

“At the end of this term it will have been 22 years in service to Mt. Olive as an elected official,” says Greenbaum.

“I am very grateful for the confidence of the residents in re-electing me,” says Greenbaum. “I think, along with the other elected officials and the employees, we have brought stability to Mt. Olive, both in terms of government and taxes. Municipal taxes have not been raised in seven years. At the same time, we have improved our infrastructure and made Mt. Olive a great place to live, work, own a business and raise children.”

In the Board of Education race, four candidates were vying for three seats. Out of three incumbents running, two were re-elected: Anthony Giordano received 2,547 votes and William Robinson received 2,338 votes. A new candidate, Nolan J. Stephens was elected after receiving 2,039 votes. Incumbent Brian Schaechter did not get reelected after receiving 1,983 votes.

The Morris County Board of Elections office calculated 8,956 voters for the Mt. Olive Twp. Board of Education race.

Flanders Park In Line For New Bocci, Volleyball Courts

By Cheryl Conway

The Mt. Olive Senior Center will no longer be the only local hot spot for Bocce.

Plans to build a new Bocce Court and Volleyball Court are underway at Flanders Park in Flanders.

“A few residents had asked if it was possible to have a court,” says Jill Daggon, Mt. Olive Recreation supervisor. 

With Turkey Brook Park in Budd Lake overflowing with courts and fields, many suggested that Flanders Park could be a receiver of some new amenities.

“We have many amenities at Turkey Brook Park; Flanders Park needed some new activities,” says Daggon. “Bocce is intergenerational, social and fun.

“With Mt Olive Manor and the Regency in close proximity it will give adults and families an opportunity to get outdoors and get some mild exercise as well as engaging with the community,” she adds. 

The Bocce Court and Volleyball Court “will be done in house by our Parks, Buildings & Grounds & DPW Staff,” says Daggon.

“There had been monies set aside to make improvements at Flanders Park; a presentation was made to the Planning Board to add Volleyball, Bocce over the next two years,” she explains.

According to Daggon, the volleyball court will be put in first around late spring 2020; the exact timeline for Bocce has not been set.

The courts will be located between the parking lot and the basketball courts.

They will be regulation size, she says, adding that Bocce Courts are 13 ft. X 91 ft.

“Anyone may use it, they must provide their own Bocce Balls,” says Daggon. “People will need to bring their own bocce set.”

There are Bocce Courts located at the Mt. Olive Senior Center, which “were put in shortly after the Senior Center was built, about 2000,” she notes.

As far as maintenance, Daggon says “There are many kinds of surfaces for Bocce courts which have their own maintenance requirements.”  

Andrew Tatarenko, Mt. Olive Township Business administrator, says “Cost to build will be minuscule with no impact on taxes.”

There has also been talk to put in a GAGA pit but that has been put on hold, he says.

Also discussion to put in an all-weather turf field at Flanders Park has been circulating, but more on that to come.

Local and county news


County Seeds Of Change Awarded To Local Woman

The Morris County Advisory Committee on Women’s 2019 Seeds of Change Award, which honors the memory of the late State Sen. Leanna Brown, was presented last night to Phyllis Chanda of Mt. Olive for her dedication to her community.

The Advisory Committee announced Chanda’s selection at a special ceremony at the county Board of Freeholders’ meeting in Morristown.

“There is no job too small or no job too big,” said Allison Delcalzo-Berens, Secretary of the Morris County Advisory Committee on Women.

“She leads by example, honors commitments, and never gives up. These are the seeds of change that Phyllis Chanda has planted in Morris County through her dedication to the county’s most vulnerable residents.’’

“Morris County is extremely proud to honor Phyllis Chanda, who has worked so hard for so many worthy organizations, helping so many residents of her hometown and Morris County,’’ said Morris County Freeholder Kathy DeFillippo. “She is an inspiration to all of us. On behalf of the entire Board of Freeholders, we congratulate Phyllis.’’

When former State Senator Leanna Brown passed away in late 2016, the Advisory Committee on Women contemplated her contributions and legacy. Out of those discussions came the idea of promoting Brown’s values of grassroots activism by annually honoring a woman in Morris County who reflects her values and determination.

The award seeks to highlight and celebrate women who build up other women and whose work at the grass roots levels often go unrecognized. In 2018, the first Seeds of Change award went to Lila Bernstein of Mendham Twp.

Like Bernstein, this year’s recipient has a record of service that is extensive.

Chanda has been very active in many organizations, such as the Roxbury Women’s Club, Roxbury Food Pantry, Family Promise of Morris County, Canine Companions for Independence, the state judiciary’s CASA Program, Jersey Battered Women’s Service (JBWS), Autism New Jersey, Morris Habitat for Humanity, and Alzheimer’s Association.

Chanda has been a leader and organizer.

For example, after retiring from a more than 30-year career in the health care industry, she re-directed her energies to daily visits to a nursing home.

Due to a family issue, she became a strong advocate for Alzheimer’s patients, but even after her family situation concluded, she continued daily visits to other Alzheimer’s patients and became very involved in the Alzheimer’s Association fundraising walk in Roxbury.

She also has worked tirelessly for Morris Habitat for Humanity, especially to move ahead a 12-unit affordable housing project in Roxbury.


 Morris County Sheriff James M. Gannon presents training program to educators and police. 


School Leaders & Police Get Lesson On School Safety 

A nationally-renowned expert on school shootings on Thursday instructed a group of 80 police officers, school administrators and resource officers and mental health professionals in Morris County on how to build an evidence-based program to assess threats to school safety.

By terrible coincidence, former United States Secret Service Chief Research Psychologist Dr. Marisa R. Randazzo was training the group as part of the Morris County Sheriff’s Office’s RSVP-3 Program when shots  were fired at Saugus High School in Santa Clarita, Calif., allegedly by a 16-year-old student – killing two students and wounding at least three others.

RSVP-3, which stands for Responsible School Violence Prevention, Preparation, Protection, was launched in 2018 by Morris County Sheriff James M. Gannon and the Morris County Chiefs of Police Association shortly after the February 14, 2018, school shootings at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla.

With funding from the Morris County Board of Freeholders and the federal Urban Area Security Initiative (UASI), the Morris County Sheriff’s Office in 2018 hired Randazzo’s, SIGMA Threat Management Associates, to prepare an evidence-based behavioral threat assessment and management (BTAM) guide on how to identify, assess and manage threatening or seriously-disruptive behaviors in the school setting.

Randazzo, who has helped train about 350 school leaders, resource and police officers and mental health professionals on BTAM in the past year through the RSVP-3 program, spent a full day Thursday, Nov. 14, instructing the group how to conduct a threat investigation, divert an individual from his or her “pathway to violence,” and assist in creating school environments where students are free from bullying and feel comfortable confiding in school officials about threatening behavior exhibited by others.

Thursday’s RSVP-3 training – ongoing since November 2018 – also occurred on the heels of last week’s release of a U.S. Secret Service Analysis of Targeted School Violence. The Secret Service report, which analyzed 41 incidents of targeted school violence that occurred in schools from 2008 to 2017, contained several conclusions that already are incorporated into the RSVP-3 training program.

The conclusions advised: the attackers in all 41 violent school incidents exhibited concerning behaviors; most, in a concept known as leakage, communicated their intent to attack in some way; and students, school personnel and family members should be urged to report troubling or concerning behaviors.

Randazzo led the group through the BTAM process which involves  identifying a subject whose behavior has caused concern, investigating and gathering relevant information about the subject in an ethical manner, assessing the situation based on the totality of the information, and managing the threat through intervention, supervision, or a monitoring plan designed to prevent further harm and mitigate the situation.

Randazzo said she believes many school shootings can be prevented, as did Gannon, whose RSVP-3 program is multi-pronged to include the BTAM curriculum, an RSVP-3 anonymous tip-reporting app unveiled in October 2019, and tactical training for law enforcement officers.  RSVP-3, he said, is enhanced by his creation of a threat and intelligence-gathering unit called Morris County Sheriff’s Trends and Analysis Team (MCSTAT).

“These incidences are highly preventable through a fairly simple process where you get people to share concerns – when they see that report on social media, when a teacher sees something in a homework assignment that raises fear or concern about a student’s mental health  or emotional well-being,” Randazzo said. “Bring that information forth to a threat assessment team, have them take a look, find out what else is going on.

“If we think that student is on what we call a pathway to violence, we can do some simple things to get them off the pathway to violence and prevent harm,” she said.

Gannon said the ultimate goals are to avoid tactical responses, and “be left of bang” by thwarting violent plans before they solidify.

Gannon added that through early intervention, troubled youths can be steered to mental health professionals and hopefully, be returned to school.  

“Our mission should be, with students especially, to return them to chemistry class,” said Gannon. “Return them to the football field. We’re not here to be punitive.”

Randazzo’s training was interspersed with national examples of how actual plotted school attacks were thwarted, including one in which a young girl reported to the school principal a friend’s plan to bomb a school, though she felt heartsick at betraying a troubled companion.

Randazzo emphasized the need for a multi-disciplinary approach to building a BTAM team so it includes an array of people bringing information and perspectives to an assessment. She also noted the importance of students – and other concerned parties – having a mechanism or trusted school personnel to whom they can report threats or disturbing behavior.

“It’s a way of making sure people know they have the power” to help control safety in their schools, she said.

Thursday’s session was attended by law enforcement officers, school employees, school resource officers and mental health professionals from throughout Morris County, as well as Bergen and Union counties.

Warm Clothing, Toiletries Sought For Homeless Relief Mission

Temple Shalom Senior Youth Group will be doing a Midnight Run on Saturday, Nov. 16. Midnight Run ( coordinates more than 1,000 relief missions per year, where food, clothing and personal care items are distributed to the homeless poor on the street of NYC.

Local teens Katelyn and Ryan Melendez are collecting donations for their youth group’s run Saturday night. Items needed include:

Adult large or bigger pants, jeans, coats, jackets, sweatshirts, sweatpants, socks, boots and sneakers size 10 or larger, hats, gloves and scarfs. 

Toiletries such as soap, toothpaste, toothbrushes, razors, shaving cream, deodorants, shampoo, lotion and combs.

Donations can be left in the crate on the front porch of 30 Clover Hill Dr., Flanders, through Friday, Nov. 15.  Questions about donating, email

Library Events Covered This Fall Like Leaves 

“Movies at the Library” will be offered on Tuesday, Nov. 19 at either 1 p.m.-3 p.m. or 6 p.m.-8 p.m. for the movie “Red Joan,” inspired by an extraordinary true story about one of the most influential spies in living history. The movie brings to life the conflicts between patriotism and idealism, love and duty, courage and betrayal. Rated R - Restricted: No one under the age of 17 admitted!

Interested in learning to speak Spanish? Join Dr. Paul Reilly for a 10 week class, which will emphasize spoken conversational Spanish in travel situations as a tourist.

Classes are set for Thursdays through Nov. 21, from 6:30 p.m.-8 p.m. in the Career Room. If someone misses more than two classes, they will forfeit their space. Limited to 10 adults.

Registration required for all programs. Call 973-691-8686 Ext. 106 or go to to register.


Library Warms Patrons With Music, Movies & More

“Baby, it’s Cold Outside”…..Come warm up at Mt. Olive Public Library on Wednesday, Dec. 4, at 7 p.m. in the Gathering Room. Get into the holiday spirit and be entertained by the Florian Schantz Jazz Combo with Holiday Music with mixed Christmas, Hanukkah and winter-themed songs. Registration requested.

“Be Calm and Create a Masterpiece”…..“Painting with Dorothy” is set for Saturday, Dec. 7, from 10:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m. Come join in for a fun day of creativity and learning. Make great art and paint like the masters!! Registration is required;  limited to 12 adults.

“Movies at the Library”….. Join in on Tuesday, Dec. 10 at either 1 p.m.-3:15 p.m. or 6 p.m.-8:15 p.m. for the movie “Where’d You Go, Bernadette?”, based upon the novel of the same name by Maria Semple. When Bernadette suddenly disappears without a trace, her concerned family sets off on an exciting adventure to solve the mystery of where she might have gone. Registration requested.

Live Your Best Life with Essential Oils….. a workshop titled, “Essential Oils 101 (Make & Take Diffuser Bracelet)” is set for Saturday, Dec. 14, from 9:30 a.m.-11 a.m. Come join Perri O’Flynn for this fun essential oils project; the bracelet can be used as a diffuser on the go, to take oils anywhere and use them for any situation. Also, learn the benefits of using essential oils in daily life. Registration is required; limited to 10 adults.

For all programs, call 973-691-8686 Ext. 106 or go to to register.

Art Returns To County Government Buildings

The Morris County Board of Freeholders, the State Judiciary and nonprofit Morris Arts have negotiated an agreement that would allow for the return of artwork to the halls of the county government headquarters in Morristown starting in 2020.

After numerous meetings on the subject of the display of art in the County Administration and Records Building, a practice that ceased at the end of 2018, a memorandum of understanding, specific guidelines, and an artist’s waiver were developed.

The Board of Freeholders approved a resolution on Wednesday, Nov. 13, directing the Freeholder Director to sign a memorandum of understanding to allow art to return to the county building. 

A separate agreement next would be executed between the county and Morris Arts for oversight of the exhibits within very specific guidelines that have been developed in concert with the judiciary.

“We know that many county residents voiced concerns about the elimination of the annual art shows, especially student art,’’ said Freeholder Director Doug Cabana. “We heard your voices, worked to restore this building as a venue for art, and look forward to having the halls filled again with artwork again next year.’’ 

In recent years, due to space limitations in the Morris County Courthouse, the judiciary gradually has occupied more space in the five-story County Administration & Records Building. It now officially considers the building to be a courthouse, with offices and courtrooms on three of the five floors and the Prosecutor’s Office on a fourth floor.

As a result, artwork in the building must meet judiciary standards that are essential to “fair, impartial and neutral functioning of the courts.’’ As part of the new agreement, artwork will be screened to ensure it does not violate the judiciary’s core values of independence, integrity, fairness and quality service.

As curator, Morris Arts has agreed to follow the guidelines created as part of the new agreement. According to the agreement, “the purpose of the guidelines is to allow for the exhibition of works of art by artists in a welcoming, comfortable, and inclusive environment.’’

Firm Hired To Design County Courthouse Expansion

The Morris County Board of Freeholders has unanimously approved the hiring of a major Clifton-based infrastructure firm, AECOM, to design an estimated $62 million Morris County Courthouse expansion.

Representatives of the firm planned to meet with the county governing board to discuss the project at an open-to-the-public work session on Nov. 13, at 4:30 p.m., at the County Administration and Records Building in Morristown.

The board voted at its Oct. 23 public meeting to award the $3.9 million design contract to AECOM, which has extensive experience in designing judicial facilities.

In moving ahead with the design, the freeholders significantly reduced the initial cost of the estimated $106 million overall project by modifying the scope and breaking it into phases, so the county only will have appropriate $62 million for the first phase or construction phase of the new building when work begins in a few years.

“We intend to keep close watch on the spending for this project and to make every effort to keep down costs for county taxpayers,” said Freeholder John Krickus. “As part of that effort, we already have saved $1 million in architectural fees and millions in interest by reducing the scope of the project and by tapping into the county’s top-ranked Triple A bond rating.”

That bond rating, he noted, ranks better than that of the federal government. 

The county’s contract with AECOM calls for the design of a secure criminal court facility with eight courtrooms and modern court space that would be attached to the County Administration and Records Building in Morristown.

The new building, to include environmental/energy efficiency in building design, would be located on the site of a county open-air parking lot off Schuyler Place. It would not require taking any property off the Morristown tax rolls and would not have any adverse impact on the historic, original portion of the county courthouse.  

The hiring of AECOM was recommended to the full Freeholder Board after a thorough review by a special Courthouse Design Evaluation Committee, which included Freeholders Tom Mastrangelo, John Krickus, and Stephen Shaw, and County Administrator John Bonanni and Assistant Administrator Deena Leary, with technical assistance from the county’s engineering staff.

“We looked at the needs of the county and court system, not the wants of the system, in moving to the next step of a viable and realistic courthouse expansion that will handle the legal needs of the county for the next several decades,” said Freeholder Stephen Shaw.

“Another benefit of this project will be to provide quality court facilities that will maintain Morris County’s standing as the judicial hub of North Jersey,” said Freeholder Tom Mastrangelo. “That benefits county residents, the legal community, and our local businesses in Morristown, which is the Morris County Seat.” 

Krickus stressed that the new design would not require costly removal and replacement of the Morris County Tourism Bureau and the Deidre’s House facility for young victims of abuse and neglect, both of which are located on Court Street in Morristown, adjacent to the site of the new criminal courts.

Project Background

Providing adequate court facilities and securing those facilities are the sole responsibility of each respective county in N.J. To assess those needs, a previous Freeholder Board in 2017 commissioned a Space Needs and Facilities Assessment pertaining to the judiciary and county government.

That assessment, completed in 2018, identified a significant shortfall in criminal, family and civil court facilities, and detailed the outdated conditions in the existing courthouse complex. The recommendation of the report was to construct a new criminal courthouse.

In anticipation of the need for a courthouse project, the Freeholder Board in late 2018, by a unanimous vote following a public hearing process, adopted two capital ordinances to fund the design.

The Board of Freeholders, in agreeing to move forward with the process, focused on balancing the obvious needs of the court system with the financial concerns of county taxpayers in mind in seeking an acceptable option- one that is in the lower end of the cost range.

A decision to seek a design firm came after a coordinated and thorough review process of the entire project by a team that included the county government administration, freeholders, the judiciary, and the Sheriff’s Office.

The process included extensive meetings, site tours, and consideration of numerous alternatives, with a focus on public safety security, accessibility and functionality, and the potential for future expansion, should the need arise.

The freeholders in June, at a public meeting, scrutinized the Space Needs and Facilities Assessment with representatives of their consulting firm, Dewberry, to assess potential alternatives and the potential cost of the project.

In July, the freeholders unanimously approved a request for proposals to seek professional engineering services for the preliminary and final designs of a Morris County Courthouse expansion.

The Courthouse Design Proposal Review Steering Committee evaluated and ranked each of the design project proposals before making a unanimous final decision and a unanimous recommendation to the full freeholder board on Oct. 23.

For more information, visit and

Over the past year, officials from the Morris County courts, law enforcement, engineering and public safety have made presentations on the courthouse issue. View the presentation at


Freeholders Honor Marine Corps on 244th Anniversary

Emerson Crooks with Freeholder Board and Assemblywoman BettyLou DeCroce. 

The Morris County Board of Freeholders is honoring the United State Marine Corps on its 244th birthday, celebrating the founding of the Marines by the Continental Congress in 1775.

The Marine Corps Birthday is marked each year on Nov. 10 with traditional ball and cake-cutting ceremonies held at locations across the nation.

Here in Morris County, the Freeholder Board highlighted the occasion at its recent Veterans’ Day event on Oct. 23 in remarks made by Freeholder and Marine Corps Veteran John Krickus.

In addition, the freeholders held a special recognition ceremony for Marine Corps veteran Emerson Cooks of Randolph, as a representative of all Marines.

“We would like to call attention to one particular Marine who served his country with honor on the battlefield, and in civilian life has offered exemplary service to his state and county,’’ said Krickus.

“Marine Corps veteran Emerson Crooks of Randolph is being honored for his outstanding service to his country in Vietnam and steadfast support of all veterans. It is most fitting to honor this decorated Marine on the 244th birthday of the USMC.’’

Crooks served as a Marine from 1968-1972. For that service, he received the Legion of Merit and a Valor Designation for heroism.

As a civilian, he has been a strong advocate for veterans -- at Lyons VA Hospital and through other veterans’ organizations -- and he is vice president of North Jersey Stand Down, which reaches out to homeless veterans.

In addition, he is an advocate on behalf of juveniles in the court system and an advocate for residents who suffer mental illness, through his efforts for the Mental Health Association of Essex and Morris Counties. 

“Emerson Crooks, in his military and civilian lives, always has proudly lived up to Marine Corps standards,’’ said Krickus in presenting him with a special county resolution.

On 10 November 1775, the Second Continental Congress resolved to raise two battalions of Marines. Congress commissioned 31-year-old Samuel Nicholas, a well-known Philadelphian, as captain of the fledgling force of Continental Marines.

From Tun Tavern in Philadelphia, Nicholas raised two battalions of Marines as directed and began the long illustrious history of the United States Marine Corps, which now has is 190,000 active duty personnel strong, with deployments across the world.

Every year since 1925 the founding of the Marine Corps has been celebrated with a Birthday Ball. It is one of the biggest social events of the year for leathernecks all over the world.

The Marine Corp’s birthday cake-cutting ceremony is important to all Marines, as it is an annual renewal of each Marine’s commitment to the Corps.

Learn about the Marine Corps’ birthday tradition at


Hope One Recognized By International Association

Morris County Sheriff James M. Gannon and founding partners in the Hope One mobile substance use recovery program received an esteemed award last month for their public-private venture from the International Association of Chiefs of Police, the largest professional association of police leaders in the world.

On behalf of Hope One, Gannon accepted the 2019 IACP/Security Industry Association Michael Shanahan Leadership in Public/Private Cooperation Award on Oct. 29, at the IACP’s Annual Banquet in Chicago, Ill.

“Hope One was based on a simple concept of treatment providers and specialists bringing critical recovery and resource services directly to people who may be too exhausted, frightened or overwhelmed by addiction to seek help on their own,” Gannon said. “Hope One, with its steadfast, compassionate team, has saved lives and is committed to keep doing so.”

The Morris County Sheriff’s Office and its Hope One partners – the Rockaway-based Center for Addiction Recovery Education and Success (CARES), Daytop New Jersey, Prevention is Key (PIK) and the Mental Health Association of Essex and Morris – are the collective recipients of the award named in honor of retired University of Washington Police Department Chief Michael Shanahan.

The non-profit Family Promise of Morris County, which specializes in finding emergency and permanent housing for homeless individuals and families, came aboard Hope One after its launch to make sure clients had essential toiletries and assistance in finding housing.  

The award bestowed by the Security Industry Association and IACP, a global organization that prepares the next generation for the future of law enforcement, recognizes outstanding achievements in the development and implementation of public/private partnerships to promote public safety.

Gannon was joined at the IACP Annual Banquet – the culmination of the 2019 IACP Annual Conference and Exposition – by Morris County Sheriff’s Office Bureau of Law Enforcement Undersheriff Mark Spitzer; Sheriff’s Office Corporal Erica Valvano, the coordinator of Hope One; and Madine Despeine-Udoh, the director of Self Help, Advocacy and Education for the Mental Health Association of Essex and Morris.

Valvano and Despeine-Udoh are core Hope One professionals, along with Kelly LaBar, a Certified Peer Recovery specialist from CARES. 

Recognizing that opioid overdose deaths were reaching dire levels, Gannon in January 2017 brought together law enforcement, substance use and mental health specialists for a solution.

The result, after just three months of planning and the formation of a partnership between law enforcement and non-profit agencies, was the launch of the Morris County Sheriff’s Office Hope One program on April 3, 2017.

Hope One is a mobile substance use recovery and resource outreach vehicle that was retrofitted out of a defunct SWAT vehicle.  With $15,000 from drug forfeiture funds, the vehicle was stripped of all law enforcement markings and painted white and purple, a color symbolizing recovery.  Its license plates read: “Hope One.”

Hope One travels at least twice a week, and often on weekends, to locations in Morris County that are known for opioid overdoses, homeless encampments, community soup kitchens, and areas where at-risk populations are known to congregate.

With the help of the Morris County Sheriff’s Office and the Hope One staff, the city of Newark and counties of Burlington, Atlantic, Cape May and Monmouth have replicated Hope One and are on the road.

As of Oct. 28, 2019, the Morris County Sheriff’s Office Hope One mobile program has logged 1,629 hours on the road in 356 stops.  The staff has had at least 9,516 contacts with individuals, trained 2,075 people in how to reverse an opioid overdose with Narcan, and assisted 154 people in getting into rehab and recovery programs and linked another 118 people with mental health services.

With a stigma-free approach and toiletries, snacks and beverages to put visitors at ease, the Hope One staff from the start has made a new contact every 10.8 minutes. Individuals who request Narcan training aboard Hope One are given a free Narcan kit to take home, and 38 people have returned the used kits to Hope One after using the Narcan to reverse an overdose.

“Hope One, led by Sheriff Jim Gannon and his team, is the best example of a best practice between criminal justice and the substance use disorders treatment and recovery communities,” said James Curtin, chief executive officer of Daytop New Jersey.

“Daytop New Jersey is grateful to play a part in this tremendously effective effort to get persons desperately needing treatment – as opposed to incarceration – connected to life-saving treatment,” Curtin said.

CARES, a project of the non-profit Prevention Is Key (PIK), has provided the critical expertise of Peer Recovery Specialists and its access to treatment providers to greatly bolster the success of Hope One. As has the Mental Health Association of Essex and Morris since many people struggling with substance use disorders have a co-occurring mental health disorder.

“Hope One, under Sheriff Gannon’s leadership, has provided life-saving and life-changing services to the Morris County community. We are honored at the Mental Health Association to be a part of it,” said Robert Davison, the association’s chief executive officer.


Church To Host Holiday Artisans Show 

Church of the Messiah in Chester will offer an opportunity to meet local artisans on Saturday, Nov. 23, from 2 p.m.-6 p.m. Several artists have agreed to present and sell their creations. The show will feature a woodworker, jeweler, potter, soap maker, candle maker, knitter, stationary designer, stain glass, blacksmith demonstrations and more. This will be an intimate setting and will offer an opportunity to meet the artisans and learn more about their crafts. There is no charge for admission, but donations will be gladly accepted. Complimentary hot cider and snacks will be available.

All proceeds help to support the church’s ministry and community outreach programs. These include providing and serving meals at a Morris County homeless shelter, donating food to local food pantries, providing Christmas and Easter gift baskets to needy families and seniors, and supporting a ministry which provides formula, baby food, diapers and other supplies for needy mothers with infants.

The Church of the Messiah is located at 50 State Route 24 in Chester. There is on-site parking and the hall is handicapped accessible.

The Church of the Messiah is the Episcopal Church serving Chester, Chester Township, Long Valley and surrounding areas. This church is part of the Anglican Communion, the Episcopal Church USA, and is a parish in the Diocese of Newark. The congregation offers a faithful, open and welcoming environment to all through services, classes, and community events. The mission of the Church of the Messiah is to be a spiritual resource to its members, both Episcopal and others, as they seek to discover, define and develop their relationship with God and the people and world around.

For further information, contact Chris Martin: 973-975-7192. Email: Church office: 908-879-7208. Website:


Freeholders Honor American Legion on Centennial

The Morris County Board of Freeholders is honoring the American Legion, including 21 Legion posts in Morris County, on the centennial of the organization, which held its first convention 100 years ago, starting on Nov. 10, 1919, in Minneapolis.

The county governing board at a recent ceremony in Morristown issued a resolution of congratulations to Morris County American Legion Commander Amery Vasso.

“We thank members and leaders of the American Legion, here in Morris County and across the state and nation, for their service to our country and dedication to service and advocacy,’’ said Morris County Freeholder Kathy DeFillippo, who presented the county resolution to Vasso.

Founded in 1919 by U.S. troops stationed in France during World War I, the founders created an organization dedicated to four pillars of service and advocacy: veterans, military personnel, youth and patriotic values.

The American Legion today has a network of 13,000 local posts covering the 50 states as well as the District of Columbia, France, Mexico, the Philippines and Puerto Rico, as well as 21 posts in Morris County (

The Legion has been instrumental in the creation of a number of major institutions of American society, including formation of the Department of Veterans Affairs, creation of U.S. Flag Code, passage of the GI Bill and more.

Every year, the American Legion does the following: Donates more than 3.7 million hours of volunteer service to their communities; Provides assistance on 181,000 VA benefits cases; Donates more than 80,000 pints of blood to collection centers nationwide, which makes the Legion the nation’s single largest blood donor; Awards more than 8,000 medals to Junior ROTC students; Sponsors more than 2,500 Scouting units serving more than 64,000 young people; Awards more than $4 million in college scholarships.

The American Legion, including posts throughout Morris County, concluded the celebration of its 100th Anniversary on Veterans Day, Nov. 11.


Centenary Basketball Teams Honor Gold Star Family


Gold Star parents Kathy (center) and Ricky Brown were presented with an American flag in honor of their son, the late PFC. Nathan P. Brown, who had served in the same Infantry Rifle Company with Jason Geleski, Centenary’s interim men’s head basketball coach. 


Centenary University’s men’s and women’s basketball teams marked their season openers on Saturday by honoring Veterans, including a Gold Star family whose late son served in the same Infantry Rifle Company with Jason Geleski, the Cyclones’ interim men’s head basketball coach.

A Morris & Sussex County Sheriff with N.J. State Police escort accompanied Gold Star parents Kathy and Ricky Brown from their home in upstate New York to the University’s Hackettstown campus. They are the parents of PFC. Nathan P. Brown, a 21-year-old member of Charlie Company, 2/108th Infantry (Air Assault), who was Killed in Action on April 11, 2004 when his unit was ambushed in Samarra, Iraq. The Brown family was recognized for their sacrifice during the men’s game.


Centenary University’s men’s basketball team, with Interim Men’s Head Basketball Coach Jason Geleski (in blue suit, center) honor Gold Star parents Ricky (5th from left) and Kathy Brown (front). 

Veterans and community organizations, as well as Hackettstown police, turned out for both games at Reeves Gymnasium on the University’s Hackettstown campus. Hackettstown American Legion Post 164 presented the colors at the women’s game, while Hackettstown Cub Scout Pack 164 did the same at the men’s game.

Cyclone fans expressed their thanks and support for Veterans by filling out stars on an Honor Tree and donating items to the University’s Veterans Outreach Drive for VA Hospitals in Lyons and East Orange.

In basketball action, the Centenary men’s team defeated Penn State Lehigh Valley, 102-55, while the women bested Lancaster Bible College, 53-39.


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